What to Expect From Special Agent Basic Training

More than 1,800 DEA special agents have graduated from their Office of Training in the past 5 years. Although many new special agent recruits come with a background in law enforcement, they are nevertheless surprised at the rigorous, 18-week resident program.  In addition to further developing athletic and firearms skills, all new recruits are expected to complete a solid academic program.

What does the program involve?

The Office of Training basic training for special agents is focused on human dignity, ethics, and leadership, which is accomplished through academic instruction, leadership training, and ethics training.

The program’s academic instruction focuses on such areas as law, report writing, drug recognition, and automated information systems.

Further, the special agent basic training program includes a strong physical fitness and defense tactics regime that is 84 hours in length.

During the training program, students are expected to apply their academic instruction in a real-world setting. All practical exercises test a student’s leadership, knowledge of procedures and techniques, and decisiveness.

Does the program include firearms training?

Yes; the program is heavily based in firearms training, and the regime, which is about 122 hours in length, includes training in weapons safety, basic marksmanship, tactical shooting, and deadly force decision training.

What must be accomplished to graduate?

All students must maintain an 80 percent average throughout the program to remain in the program. There are a number of opportunities for testing, including written tests, firearms tests, physical task tests. Further, students are tested on their ability to make sound decisions during the practical scenarios.

What happens when I graduate?

Upon graduation, all new DEA special agent recruits are assigned to DEA field offices across the country.  Location is dependent upon the current needs of the DEA at the time of graduation.

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